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The Holy Temple: an Anthology

The Holy Temple: an Anthology


For 830 years — from 833 to 423 BCE and again from 349 BCE to 69 CE — there stood an edifice upon a Jerusalem hilltop which served as the point of contact between heaven and earth. So central was this edifice to our lives as Jews that nearly two-thirds of the mitzvot (commandments of the Torah) are contingent upon its existence. Its destruction is regarded as the greatest tragedy of our history, and its rebuilding will mark the ultimate redemption — the restoration of harmony within G‑d's creation and between G‑d and His creation.

Maimonides writes: "The location of the Altar [in the Holy Temple] is very exactly defined... It is a commonly-held tradition that the place where David and Solomon built the Altar on the threshing floor of Arona, is the very place where Abraham built an altar and bound Isaac upon it; this is where Noah built [an altar] when he came out from the Ark; this is where Cain and Abel brought their offerings; this is where Adam the First Man offered a korban when he was created — and it is from [the earth of] this place that he was created...."

Here we came, three times a year — on Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot — bringing with us offerings to G‑d, and bringing our selves to "see and to be seen by the face of the L-rd." Here the Divine Presence was manifest — this was the archetype of the "dwelling for G‑d in the physical world" that is the purpose of creation.

The Chassidic masters tell us that each year on Shabbat Chazon — "Shabbat of Vision," as the Shabbat preceding the Ninth of Av, the day that mourns the destruction of both Temples, is called — we are each granted a vision of the Third Temple. We may not see it with our physical eyes, but our souls see it, and are infused with the determination and power to break free of our present state of galut (exile and spiritual displacement) and restore the manifest Divine presence to our world.

The seventeen essays and stories in this anthology explore the significance of the Holy Temple as the Divine "home" and "place," as the "gate of Heaven" for man's service of G‑d, and as the ultimate embodiment of G‑d's desire to create life and mankind's endeavor to sanctify it:

What Was the Holy Temple?

At the Threshold


Somewhere Between Spirituality and Religion

The Anatomy of a Dwelling

Spiritual Space

Sleep On It

Are You Really Planning to Bring Back Those Animal Sacrifices?

Flying West

The Palace and the Pigeons

The Intimate Estrangement

The Legalities of Destruction

Shabbat of Vision

What We Are Missing


The Shofar and the Wall

The Gift

One on One


Take the Temple Tour at

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dakota new york January 13, 2014

awesome this will be cool for my wall. Reply

Menachem Posner for August 27, 2008

Can I ask about the dates given? You are correct; secular sources usually give different dates. The dates which we use are supplied by traditional Jewish sources, which are built upon the accounts of the people who were actually there at the time and experienced these events. Reply

Ross London, UK August 25, 2008

Can I ask about the dates given? I don't claim to have any greater knowledge than the author, but I've always learned that the Temple stood from the 10th Century BCE to 568 BCE and from 516 BCE to 70 CE. Which is the correct answer and where can I find proof (or as much proof as it's possible to have about archaeology this old)? Reply

Haim August 10, 2008

The Temple Cult The destruction in ancient times was a tragedy or the people involved, but it was time for the cult to disappear. If Judaism hadn't been reformed by the rabbis, it wouldn't exist today. We should concentrate on the mitzvot of the torah to build an ethical and just society. Leave the temple to history.. Reply

Eric S. Kingston North Hollywood, CA September 3, 2005

The Temple The Temple
To the Divine Presence

I look to the North, South, West, East
But all I find are fallen stones of Evenings grief
I cry out to G-d, Where now do we belong?
Standing upon the Holy Rubble
The Temples gone

I see the mighty Angels weeping at the Throne
They too cry out, Where is G-ds earthly Home?
For were scattered as the dust and blown across the lands
As the Stones of what was once, turns to dust within the hand

Go awake the Shepards from their slumber and their graves
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses we need your saving grace
Go and tell the people, Awaken from your trance!
See the Ark of Light, seek the Mighty Hand

Back into the wilderness, a Bride awaiting in the aisle
By the River of Babylon we weep, but we must end our own exile
Let us cross the desert, let us march as one Flame
Peace flowing in all the ages, were praising the mighty N-me
With prayer, with strength and courage, we soundly make amends
Pick up a Stone and place it
For She will rise again Reply

Anonymous July 18, 2017
in response to Eric S. Kingston:

beautiful Reply

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